Field of Mars
An aerial view of the Field of Mars, a large park in central Saint Petersburg, Russia, pictured in 2016. It is named after Mars, the Roman god of war. The park's history goes back to the 18th century, when it was converted from bogland and named the Grand Meadow. Later, it was the setting for celebrations to mark Russia's victory over Sweden in the Great Northern War. Its next name, the Tsaritsyn Meadow, appears after the royal family commissioned Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli to build the Summer Palace for Empress Elizabeth. It became the Field of Mars during the reign of Paul I. Towards the end of the 18th century, the park became a military drill ground, where they erected monuments commemorating the victories of the Russian Army and where parades and military exercises took place regularly. After the February Revolution in 1917, the Field of Mars became a memorial area for the revolution's honoured dead. In the summer of 1942, as the city was besieged by the German army in the Siege of Leningrad, the park was covered with vegetable gardens to supply food. An eternal flame was lit in the centre of the park in 1957, in memory of the victims of various wars and revolutions.Photograph credit: Andrew Shiva